needle, syringe, drug

Report: Unnamed NBA players linked to Biogenesis clinic scandal


The performance enhancing drug scandal tied to the Florida Biogenesis clinic that has embroiled baseball and led to the suspension of MVP Ryan Braun could touch the NBA.

Porter Fischer, the whistleblower who came forward to give the Miami New Times boxes of information that blew up Biogenesis into a scandal, told ESPN’s investigative show Outside The Lines that there are NBA players who used the clinic.

Fischer said he and associates have identified athletes from the NBA, NCAA, professional boxing, tennis and MMA, in addition to other professional baseball players who have not yet been identified. As far as he knows, Fischer said, Bosch had no clients from the NFL or NHL….

He said the only sports entity he has heard from was Major League Baseball.

No names of those other athletes have been released.

As anyone who has followed this story even casually knows, Fischer has plenty of credibility issues of his own. That said, the people at Biogenesis did a good job of keeping records, not only of who came to the clinics but of emails, texts and other correspondence.

The NBA has a policy of testing for PEDs, although the people doing designer PEDs have always been one step (or more) ahead of enforcement efforts. The NBA does not have a blood test in place for Human Growth Hormones yet, with Commissioner David Stern saying at Summer League that has to be negotiated with the union, and those kinds of negotiations are on hold until they get a new full time executive director. The current NBA rules call for a 20-game suspension for the first offense of testing positive, a second violation earns 45 games off, a third means banishment from the league.

Count me in the group that thinks there is more PED use in the NBA than people realize. I don’t think it’s as rampant as other sports, but the idea that a PED to help speed recoveries from workouts would not benefit a player in the off-season or during long road trips is naive at best. The fact is when millions of dollars are on the line people will cheat the rules, and that is the case with NBA contracts.

But as of now there is no evidence of which — if any — NBA players were tied to the clinic and what they may have taken. (I know a bunch of you will end up speculating in the comments and name players you hate, everyone is innocent until proven guilty and as of right now there is no proof of anything here.)

League executives, players wince watching this Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
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Over the last few days, we’ve written in more detail about Kobe Bryant‘s shooting troubles. He’s jacking up threes his fastest pace ever, he can’t create space to get off clean shots, he’s hitting 31.1 percent overall and 19.5 percent from three. There are flashes of vintage Kobe, but they are fleeting (and mostly because poor shot choices are falling). Byron Scott is still in Kobe’s corner, saying they just need to get the veteran better looks.

However, talk to people around the league about Kobe and you hear some variation of the phrase “hard to watch.” After 20 seasons, more than 55,000 minutes on the court, and coming off two major injuries, Kobe clearly is not the same player everyone admired for so long.

Over at the Los Angeles Times Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner got a number of sources to wince about Kobe for a story — except nobody wanted their name attached to attacking a legend of the game.

“Man, I don’t want to see Kobe go out like this, looking this bad and not able to do what he once could do,” said a retired guard who faced Bryant. “He doesn’t have anything else to prove to anybody. He was one of the greatest. I know he’s owed that $25 million, but he should just walk away now. He ain’t got it anymore.”

“He’s one of the few players in NBA history to have gotten everything possible out of his body. Now his body has nothing left to give,” (an Eastern Conference executive) said. “But that’s life in the NBA, in professional sports. At some point, the body just can’t do it anymore and Kobe’s body can’t do it anymore.”

One West scout said Bryant looked “disinterested” at times. A current player in the West went a step further.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him play and it’s disgusting,” he said. “He’s one of the best of all time. But he really hasn’t played that much in the last two or three years. He’s got nothing left. It’s sad to watch because he used to be so great, and I mean great.”

Kobe is not going to walk away mid-season, and nobody wants an injury to force him out of the game.

But it’s hard to see how anything is going to dramatically change. Kobe may shoot a little better than his current but it’s not likely going to change in a meaningful way. Which will just make things hard to watch for a full season.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.